Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Fantasticks : SF Playhouse : Excellent Cast Elevate Material

The S.F. Playhouse production of "The Fantasticks" was first-rate. Small, intimate venue, excellent ensemble, great vocals by Ms. Moafi. Not my favorite musical, ergo the four stars, but the strong, talented cast make it very entertaining and a must-see for the musical theatre aficionado!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Music Man : South Bay Musical Theater : First-Rate Production of an American Classic

Like Oz, River City is a city that exists only in our collective imagination. Nonetheless, it’s not an overstatement to say that its existence is embedded so deeply in the subconscious of the baby boomer generation that it has attained the status of myth. As such, it serves an essential purpose by defining and validating just who and what we are as a culture. To put it simply, this wonderful musical with its lovely, unforgettable tunes is as American as the proverbial apple pie.

Preston, Jones and Howard, cast in the classic movie adaptation, set the standard for their respective characters, and they have yet to be surpassed. Nevertheless, this version comes astonishingly close to reaching that high bar. The exceedingly talented White, Winslow and DeHart are simply marvelous to behold, performing true to the heart and spirit of their characters without resorting to some ersatz imitation of the original template. And their success can be attributed in no small measure to the uniformly strong and delightful supporting performances and the visionary direction of C. Michael Traw. Outstanding!

It’s a first class production in virtually every aspect: from the elaborate choreography and costuming, to the creative set, audio and lighting design-it’s definitely a winner. Notwithstanding some audio mixing problems, and the irony of a slightly out of tune, yet more than adequate, live orchestra, the presentation was virtually flawless. It’s not hyperbole to suggest that with a little more burnish we’re talkin’ the Curran in San Francisco, even Broadway, folks!

At the risk of sounding like a latter-day Professor Harold Hill, please do yourself a favor ladies and gentleman and run, not walk, to the theatre and treat yourself to this exceptionally entertaining slice of Americana before it ends its short run. Egads!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Scrambled Eggs : Northside Theatre Company : Farce Highlighted by Wonderful Acting

It’s a life presented from a decidedly feminine persective, filled with a series of seamless anecdotes of which both genders can readily relate.

This is a genuinely funny comedy made all the more successful by Leslie Hardy Lloyd's prodigious command of the central character's perpetual recitation of the watershed, albeit mostly comedic, moments of her life.

Equally praiseworthy are the two remaining cast members of this tiny ensemble, Jerry Lloyd and Ambera DeLash, each performing various supporting roles with a deft comic aplomb.

Skilled execution of the simple yet creative lighting and sound design enhance the ambient effect of this modest but professionally staged production.

The theatre was undeservedly full of mostly empty seats on a Friday night. This lack of support for the phenomenal talent on display at our smaller local theatre companies is unacceptable South Bay!